Anyone who’s ever lost someone will relate to the morbid, melancholic atmosphere Aloys captures from the its opening shot to its last. Using a desaturated and cold palette used throughout, everything in this films works towards creating the most borderline emotionally functioning version of a person one could imagine. From the furniture in Aloys’ (Georg Friedrich) flat, to the clothes on his back, even down to the technology he uses, everything about Aloys and the world he lives in is depressing. Awkward, lingering shots coupled with hypersensitive sound design and a chilling score emphasises the detached, sombre way in which a man, losing his mind, is drifting through life.

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As a private eye, Aloys experiences existence through the lens of his camera. He follows his targets, capturing their intimate moments, not able to imagine how alive they are. Filming them is his job, but watching them is his hobby. A thoroughly odious man through and through, Aloys’ world begins crumbling when his father dies and his video camera is stolen. Soon, Aloys is dragged out of his comfort zone by the voice of the women who stole his camera as she opens a new world inside of his head.

Fans of mind-bending dramas will adore this Swiss German language treat. Similar in tone to wonders such as Stay (2005) and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), Aloys is a beautiful exploration of a disturbed mind. It explores loneliness, grief, and love in a way that’s both moving and sinister; showing boldly the insidious side of obsession and the depths to which a truly sheltered person might fall.

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Georg Friedrich as Aloys carries the film far beyond a fantastically crafted feature and into a study of humanity. He captures perfectly the essence of a man unhinged, a man struggling inwardly with no outlet for his confusing emotions.

What’s more, the film explores notions of expectations versus reality. With a single look at a girl and her voice in his ear, Aloys builds an entire life with a woman he doesn’t know. His fleeting happiness is even more depressing than his bleak loneliness as the audience is reminded, time and again, that this man is experiencing a love story with his imagination. Clever use of sound, camera, and imagery paints an soul-crushing journey demonstrating the power of the imagination and how easy it is to shut the real world away. You can hide behind the camera and be safe, but you risk missing out on life.

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Unsettling, drab, beautiful, and vivid, Aloys is a fantastic example of film as art and it will leave you staring ahead whilst the credits roll – dumbfounded by the technical, creative, and acting brilliance it contains.

5/5

Dir: Tobias Nölle

Scr: Tobias Nölle

Cast: Georg Friedrich, Tilde von Overbeck, Karl Friedrich, Kamil Krejcí, Yufei Li, Koi Lee, Sebastian Krähenbühl

Prd: Christian Davi, Christof Neracher, Thomas Thümena

DOP: Simon Guy Fässler

Music: Tom Huber, Beat Jegen

Country: Switzerland, France

Year: 2016

Run time: 91 mins

Aloys is out on Blu-Ray and DVD on October 24th.